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STEP Certificate Program

Take the Next STEP in Your Ultrasound Education

Introducing AAPM&R’s New STEP Ultrasound Certificate Program—the Premiere Ultrasound Training Program—Designed by Physiatrists for Physiatrists

STEP stands for Skills, Training, Evaluation and Performance. The STEP Ultrasound Certificate Program is a “multi-tiered” training program that teaches and assesses MSK and neurologic ultrasound skills using a progressive, competency-based curriculum. Participants move through a series of 3 STEPs in diagnostic and interventional ultrasound, completing each component through a combination of learning formats.  Participants who complete all of the required STEPs will earn a Certificate of Completion.

Successful completion of the STEP Ultrasound Program will clearly demonstrate to your patients, fellow health care professionals, employers, and the medical facilities you work with that you are a competent professional, expertly trained in ultrasound. It is the only formal, standardized training pathway available for honing and validating your ultrasound skill set.

When you earn the STEP Ultrasound Program Certificate, you:

  • Represent the highest standard in the field
  • Perform ultrasound with confidence
  • Communicate a commitment to patient care and safety
  • Enhance your career opportunities
  • Gain visibility and credibility in the field
  • Reassure patients and employers that you are committed to excellence in Ultrasound

STEP 1: Fundamentals

The STEP Ultrasound Certificate Program consists of 3 steps, with the accompanying activities associated with each step noted below.

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  1. Online Pre-test with 25 questions
    • Must be completed prior to live precourse; no minimum passing score
    • Access provided 30 days prior to the live precourse
  2. Online Fundamentals Precourse lectures
    • Watch before attending live precourse
    • Access provided 30 days prior to the live precourse
  3. Live Fundamentals Ultrasound Precourse at the Annual Assembly (Oct/Nov)
  4. Online Post-test with the same 25 questions as the pre-test
    • Will provide CME and Maintenance of Certification® (MOC®) Part II Self-Assessment credit
    • 70% minimum passing score required

STEP 2: Interventional

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  1. Online Interval Pre-test with new 25 questions
    • No minimum passing score
    • Must be completed by STEP participants to unlock and access the online curriculum activities 
  2. Online Curriculum:
    • AMSSM Sports Ultrasound videos (35 total) = 14.50 CME credits
    • Neuromuscular Ultrasound videos (22 total) = 6.25 CME credits
    • Ultrasound Coding and Billing online lecture = .75 CME credits
    • Case log 
  3. Live Next Step Interventional Course (15.50 MOC® Part II Self-assessment Credits)
  4. Online Interval Post-test with the same 25 questions as pre-test
    • Will provide CME and MOC Part II self-assessment credit
    • 70% minimum passing score required

Once participants have completed the required activities from the online program and attended the Next Step Interventional Course, you will have access to Step 3.

STEP 3: Assessment and Certificate

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  1. Online Post-test with 50 questions
    • 80% minimum passing score required
    • Complete between completion of interventional course and Annual Assembly
  2. One-on-one hands-on skills assessment (live at the Annual Assembly* venue)
    • Passing score will be required

There is no sequential order in which participants need to complete Step 3. Once you complete both components you will receive your Ultrasound STEP certificate.

*Annual Assembly registration is not included with your STEP registration. If you wish to attend the assembly you will need to register and pay for it separately. You are not required to register and pay for the assembly if you plan to only go to the venue just for the skills assessment.


Pathway to the STEP Certificate

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It is expected that it will take at least a year for a participant to complete this program; however, it may be possible to skip Step 1, and move directly to Step 2 (i.e., be grandfathered into the program) if you already completed a Fundamentals/Introductory Ultrasound course from AAPM&R or another organization. Contact info@aapmr.org and we will pass along additional details.

What is a Certificate Program and Why is it so Important?

AAPM&R’s STEP Ultrasound Certificate Program is modeled after the Institute for Credentialing Excellence’s (ICE) guideline document titled, “Standard for Assessment-Based Certificate Programs.” This type of certificate program is focused on providing comprehensive competency-based training in specific skills; it is not a "certification" that is only designed to test knowledge. Participants move through a series of 3 steps, completing various program components (i.e., Pre-test, Fundamentals, Diagnosis/Applications, Intervention, Performance in Practice, Cognitive Post-test and Skills Assessment) to earn a Certificate of Completion.

Successful completion of this high-level, standardized program will build your confidence, while clearly demonstrating to your patients, fellow health care professionals, employers and the medical facilities you work with that you are a competent professional, expertly trained in the field of Ultrasound.  

CME and MOC Credit

This STEP program offers more than 50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™:

  • Fundamentals Course offers 17.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits
  • Interventional Course offers 15.50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits
  • Online Curriculum offers 21.50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits

This program also offers more than 30 Maintenance of Certification (MOC®) Part II Self-Assessment credits through the hands-on courses listed above. 

Why AAPM&R Created the STEP Ultrasound Program

Because ultrasound training varies considerably, AAPM&R wanted to provide a centralized, standardized method of training for excellence in ultrasound. Our certificate program provides a formal pathway for training for those who are out of residency or don’t have another avenue for developing and honing new skills. Holding the STEP Ultrasound Program Certificate distinguishes you in your field and demonstrates that you have the knowledge and skills needed to provide top-notch care to your patients.